The February-to-March increase in jobs, at 0.73%, was just shy of the upper-side normal trend characteristic and very consistent with March increases over the last four years. I am bringing this up because some broadcast media were saying that the number was disappointing after the poor January and February job numbers associated with the polar vortex. The reality, based on Bureau of Labor Statistics not-seasonally-adjusted data, is that the January and February numbers were good and consistent with historical norms.
CNN Money reported that private sector employment has reached the pre-recession peak. Not so fast CNN. We are still shy of the March 2008 record high by 754,000 jobs when we use the non-adjusted actual figures.
They also reported that this is the mildest job recovery since records started being kept in 1939. Sorry, but not true when you look at the unadulterated numbers. The 7.0% gain in the 44 months the annual moving total has been rising is steeper than the 2003-2008 run up in jobs through the same time span.
Overall the job numbers are very consistent with our projection of ongoing growth in consumer spending, which translates into more growth for the overall economy through the middle of this year. We are projecting that growth in the private job sector will slow in the second half of this year and that will result in slower growth in the overall economy. There is already a preliminary sign of that slower job growth in that the quarterly year-over-year growth rate (3/12 rate-of-change) is moving lower, and the quarterly growth rate is below the annual growth rate. A couple more months of that trend will provide a clear signal of slower job growth ahead and a slower rate of growth for many industries.